The Story Of An Old Man
Photo by: Sao Pagnarith ( December, 2002 Volume 2 No.12 )

A frail old man went to live with his only son, daughter-in-law and their four-year old lad - his grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table, but the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor and when he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess and decided that they have to do something about Grandfather. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor," said the son. So the husband and wife set a small table separately in the corner of the dining room. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family continues to enjoy dinner at the table.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up". The four-year-old smiled and went back to work. The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, they both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days the Grandfather ate every meal with the family and for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.